Education is an important path to reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples.

June 1, 2015

Justice Sinclair of the Truth and Reconciliation Communion brings an important message to all communities.

round-dance-gatehouse

In the Globe and Mail, Universities must address residential school legacy, Justice Sinclair says:

“Part of the misunderstanding that we see so prevalent in Canadian society is young adults, and adults in positions of leadership, constantly demonstrate a total lack of understanding and misunderstanding about who aboriginal people are … and what non-aboriginal society has contributed and done to aboriginal people that has caused the situation to be what it is in aboriginal Canada,” Justice Sinclair said in an interview this week.

Springwater Park – Camp Nibi has contributed to the start of that new understanding.

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Saturday May 23: Pot luck dinner at Camp Nibi / Springwater Park

May 17, 2015

from Beth Brass Elson (Wabiska Myiingan)

Round dance Main Pavilion

We will be having a Pot Luck Dinner on Saturday, May 23rd 2015 at 5:00 pm at Camp Nibi / Springwater Park at the main pavilion. It has been a long time since we had a Pot Luck at Nibi so I am hoping all who came and stayed and those who supported us return for a very exciting afternoon of fun and catch up! We are taking apart the old lodge and doing a ceremony for it earlier on this day also. Looking forward to chatting it up and hugging with you all!

Posted on AWARE Simcoe


Hello newly-elected municipal leaders: John Ralston Saul says aboriginal rights are a “simple matter of rights denied”.

October 29, 2014

How about every level of government (starting with municipalities) simply following the law, human rights and the direction of the Supreme Court when it comes to First Nations’ relationships?
john ralston saul toronto star

Who is afraid of a little “meaningful consultation and accommodation” about land use?

An interesting article by Jim Coyle of the Toronto Star, about allowing justice (not bequeathing charity) when first nations are concerned:

“What we face is a simple matter of rights — of citizens’ rights that are still being denied to indigenous peoples. It is a matter of rebuilding relationships central to the creation of Canada and, equally important, to its continued existence.”

The stakes are that high, he says. And — given history, the power of demographics and the rise of an educated aboriginal class — the issue is not going away.

“Enormous efforts are being made to stop it, to sideline it, or to slow it down,” he says. “It cannot be done.”

Saul’s message to newly-elected municipal officials?:

He leaves no easy out for guilty liberals merely satisfied to have their hearts in the right place. “We — you and I — have not elected or defeated people on this basis.

“That’s what we need to do now. We need to be saying to people who want to be our representatives: ‘I will vote for you or against you depending on your willingness to come full front on this issue, spend the money, act with respect, listen to the courts,’ ”

And since we are all Treaty People (aboriginal and non-aboriginals) we have 2 things to do:

“We must reinstall a national narrative built on the centrality of the aboriginal peoples’ past, present and future. And the policies of the country must reflect that centrality, both conceptually and financially.”

Protecting legal rights not giving bleeding-heart charity, begins at home.


Springwater Park – Camp Nibi draws thousands of winter visitors….and +$110,000 in private and public support!

April 10, 2014

The winter is an exceptionally busy time at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi: both inside and out.

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In the Barrie Advance, Group raises cash to help reopen Springwater Park:

A year of uncertainty about Springwater Park’s future has sown the seeds — and cash — for meaningful talks on a partnership to reopen the facility.

The Springwater Park Foundation has so far raised $103,000 and it’s putting its cash where its mouth is as it plans talks with the province’s Natural Resources Ministry.

Springwater resident Nancy Bigelow:

Now that the money’s set aside, Springwater Park Foundation chairperson Nancy Bigelow said she’s working to set a date to meet with the ministry. She can tell stories of people who have come to appreciate the park, which the ministry had said was experiencing a drop in visitors.

“You have to walk in, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. There are trails and plenty of people. On the weekends, it’s packed. All through the winter, there were snowshoers and cross-country skiers. It’s been impressive,” Bigelow said.

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Our Anishinaabe friends continued their ceremonies all winter long:

“There won’t be so many overnight times. We’re not moving back in, but we’ll be doing ceremonies and teaching,” said the group’s Elizabeth Brass Elson. “We’re Camp Nibi and we plan on staying there forever. We haven’t finished our initiative.”

 

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And finally:

Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition founder Les Stewart said talks are still ongoing and Springwater Township has set aside $10,000 to help reopen the park if an agreement is reached.

Running for deputy mayor of Springwater, Stewart said he’s keeping a keen eye on the park and efforts to reopen it.

“The park is in great shape and people have been using it all winter. We’re looking forward to an announcement from the MNR,” he said.


The Margaret Atwood anti-sprawl Midhurst petition challenge is shattered!!

March 30, 2014

It will be a pleasure to welcome Ms. Atwood and perhaps some of her friends to our nearly 200 year old community.

MCC SPCC sign 1

Midhurst Community Hall, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association Annual General Meeting, January 26, 2014.

The cancer-like urban sprawl plan threatens farmland, the Minesing Wetlands,  Springwater Park, forced hook-ups for sewer and water for all Midhurst and out-of-sight tax bills for all Springwater Township residents for decades into the future.

As reported by AWARE Simcoe on March 26th, Yes! Midhurst petiton tops 5.000:

Final push joined by Atwood in Twitter feed
Today, the 5,000th person signed the petition to save the village of Midhurst (population 3,500), preserve the 756 hectares of surrounding farmland and stop the proposed effluent discharge into the Willow Creek and the internationally treasured Minesing Wetlands.

And the count of those opposed to the Midhurst Secondary Plan, which would expand the Midhurst population to 28,000, continues to rise.

The final Twitter push from Save Midhurst Now proclaiming that only 13 signatures were needed was re-tweeted in the early hours today by author Margaret Atwood, who has pledged to visit Midhurst and do a workshop at a nearby high school if 5,000 people sign the petition.

The Midhurst residents’ group has unveiled a new video and song in support of the cause. Click here to view it.

Sign the petition

Congratulations to everyone, especially Margaret Prophet and all her crack public relations associates at the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association.

Posted on FranchiseFool.com and iLoveMidhurst.ca.


The Ministry of Natural Resources agrees to start to consult First Nations on the future of Springwater Park – Camp Nibi.

December 21, 2013

After a 9 month peaceful and lawful occupation, the stage is set for respectful discussions.

Examiner Elizabeth Kim Sylvie

Three First Nations women — from left, Sylvie Simard, Elizabeth Brass Elson and Kimberly Rose Edwards — have been the core group of people at the centre of the Native occupation of Springwater Provincial Park since Ontario Parks declared the park north of Barrie non-operational on April 1. Beausoleil First Nation and the Ministry of Natural Resources have agreed to discuss the park’s future together. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/QMI AGENCY

Ian McInroy reports for the Barrie Examiner in First Nations and MNR to enter into talks about Springwater Park’s future:

Beausoleil First Nation and the MNR have agreed to enter into discussions to ensure the interest of Camp Nibi — as a group of First Nations women who have occupied the park have renamed it — and its traditional, cultural and spiritual education activities continues. Since April there have been ceremonies, teachings, potluck suppers and a connection with the land and the surrounding community.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue. Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future,” said Elizabeth Brass Elson, one of the original protesters.

From the Ministry of Natural Resources:

Jolanta Kowalski, of the MNR, said there is still much to do in regards to the park’s future.

“The ministry is pleased to be working with Beausoleil First Nation to discuss a future partnership for the operation of Springwater Provincial Park,” she said. “The ministry has committed to working with the First Nations. However at this time, an agreement has not been signed and details of the partnership have not been determined.

“We appreciate the interests expressed by the First Nation individuals who had occupied the park and respect their commitment to First Nation traditions and culture. The public can continue to enter the park and enjoy the use of the park for activities like hiking or snowshoeing.”

Kowalski re-iterated that the park is not closed and that the province and the MNR, which took over the area in 1958, is not considering selling it.

Ontario Parks has existing partnerships with other organizations and municipalities to operate other provincial parks, she added.

“Kowalski re-iterated that the park is not closed and that the province and the MNR…is not considering selling it.”

A very large thank you is in order from the community to the core three ladies and their supporters.


NEWS: Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

December 20, 2013
beth-kim-sylvie-nahuis

Elizabeth, Kimberly Rose and Sylvie (l to r). Photo: Anne Nahuis

Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

Springwater Provincial Park – renamed Camp Nibi by a group of First Nations women who have occupied it for nine months – is to be a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Beausoleil First Nation.

Beausoleil First Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are in discussions which ensure the interest of Camp Nibi/Midewiwin Lodge for their continued traditional, cultural, spiritual education will continue to be provided for on these lands of Springwater Park, Elizabeth Brass Elson said today.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue. Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future,” she said.

An agreement between the Ministry and the First Nation is good news for all, Brass Elson said.

“We are satisfied that our vision for Camp Nibi has been recognized. Camp Nibi and the Eastern Doorway of The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will be working together with the First Nation to bring traditional spiritual teachings on the land of Springwater Park.”

The past nine months at Camp Nibi have been the scene of ceremonies, teachings, potluck suppers and – most important – connection with the land and the surrounding community.

It’s been an important journey for Brass Elson, known to many in Simcoe County for her leadership role in the battle to stop Dump Site 41.

She turned her attention to Springwater Park – part of the traditional territory of Beausoleil First Nation – after the Ontario government declared it non-operational as of April 1, 2013.

“I found my true spiritual connection with the land here,” she said. People came from all over Ontario to camp with the women who were in the park through the high heat of summer and the recent bitter cold. Locals were generous with support and donations.

“Chi Miigwetch, a big thank you to all those who supported us, our friends and our allies,” Brass Elson said. “And special thanks to Beausoleil First Nation and Ontario Parks for recognizing our vision for these lands.”

Two women joined Brass Elson – an Anishinabek from Chimnissing (Beausoleil First Nation) – in a steadfast determination to ensure that the land remains protected in an area north of Barrie that’s being subjected to intense development pressures.

They are Kimberly Rose Edwards, a Richmond Hill resident from the Mohawk community of Oka, and Sylvie Simard of Kapuskasing, a Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick.

“This has been my destiny,” said Edwards. A seer, she found her native roots a decade ago and saw the Camp Nibi lands long before she arrived to support Brass Elson in April.

“I came to learn,” said Simard. “My ancestors were calling.”

News release from Camp Nibi

Cross posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf


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